Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012
This Week's News
This Week's News
Physicians call on court to block unconstitutional gun gag law in Florida
The AMA and nine medical specialty societies filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday, opposing an attempt to revive a Florida law that would prevent physicians from asking patients and families about guns in the home.
Condemning government-sponsored censorship of private medical discussions between patients and physicians, the brief asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to uphold a federal court decision from last fall that ruled Florida's "gun gag law" was unconstitutional. In that ruling, the court stated that the law "chills practitioners' speech in a way that impairs the provision of medical care and may ultimately harm the patient."
"Lawmakers cannot insert the state into the patient-physician relationship by dictating, prohibiting or threatening the open communication between patient and physician," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a news release. "The AMA will vigorously defend the patient-physician relationship and the free speech necessary for the practice of medicine."
The AMA supports physician discussions with patients about firearm safety and risks to help them safeguard their families from accidents. Open communication allows physicians to counsel patients about everyday risks, including unused seat belts, swimming pool hazards, household chemicals, tobacco and drug abuse. Studies show that patients who receive physician counseling on firearm safety are more likely to adopt one or more safe gun-storage practices.